All hard-boiled W:O:A fans know that the camping ground usually turns into sludge. Camping there implies reducing your lifestyle to the basic necessities for sheer survival. And that's actually possible.
Known as the world's largest heavy metal festival, Wacken Open Air in northern Germany is expecting some 80,000 metalheads this year from August 3-5. It's not an event you want to show up unprepared for.
1. Rubber boots
There are some exceptions; ideal weather conditions may prevail now and then. But if you're counting on an exceptionally mud-free festival the year you decide to go, you're destined to be disappointed: Rain and sludge seem to be an integral part of Wacken, just like guitars and metalheads. So just forget all expensive footwear. Rubber boots are the only option.
Avoid all trendy gadgets on other body parts, too. Everyone usually gets soaked, so you'll need a raincoat. The rain often turns the entire festival grounds into a muddy lake. To make things worse, your clothes won't dry in the tent - and it might end up all wet inside as well.
Beverage companies offer orange-colored rain capes covered with ads for alcohol all over the place. And black rain capes with the emblem of the festival, the bull's head, are one of the items in the Wacken survival kits handed out by the festival organizers.
3. Pavilion tent
There are options for those who can't do without at least a minimum of luxury. Rather large party tents, available at hardware stores, enable the less courageous to barbecue while it is pouring with rain. Some people use these tents to protect the tent they sleep in.
4. Camping stoves, instant coffee and ravioli
Gourmet foods are of course a rare sight on the camping ground. That's why one should bring along some basic equipment consisting of a camping stove, instant coffee and ravioli.
If you're clever, you'll also bring along a pan to fry eggs or pancakes. A good idea is also to buy bottles containing instant pancake dough. All you need to do now is add milk to the content, shake the bottle a few times, and your perfect pancake dough is waiting to be fried.
5. Barbecue, coal and sausage
Festival-goers who start drinking beer in the morning should always have a good breakfast first. To make sure you don't forget this advice, just start the barbecue immediately upon arrival. After all, sausages can always be eaten in between two concerts, whether in the morning or in the evening.
6. A Styrofoam cooler with ice
This refrigerator substitute is perfect for cooling beer, as there is no electricity on the camping ground to keep a mini fridge running. A Styrofoam cooler filled with crushed ice keeps your drinks cool up to 72 hours.
7. A water canister
If you want to wash your hands once in a while, rinse your tin cup or splash some water into your tired face after waking up, you shouldn't forget to include a water canister in your luggage. On the camping ground, you are likely to have to walk a few hundred meters to reach the next sanitary installations, and due to the mud, that walk will probably not be a pleasant experience. You'll definitely be very grateful to have your own water canister.
8. Garbage bags for the shower
Despite the sludge, sanitary installations are kept clean thanks to a legion of cleaning personnel. The showers, however, are very small, even smaller than a telephone booth. There isn't any space at all to keep your towel or the fresh clothes you want to put on after showering. That's why it's a good idea to bring along a garbage bag to keep your things dry. And wear flip-flops, as there will always be a bit of mud on the floor.
9. Toilet paper
Long queues will form not only in front of the "real bathrooms," that are usually well equipped with toilet paper, but also to use the chemical toilets. They're certainly not attractive to everyone, even if they are emptied every day. If you don't shy away from the portable toilets, you shouldn't forget to bring your own toilet paper.
10. Ear plugs
There is no closing time on the camping ground. That's where people continue to party after the festival program tones down - quite often until early in the morning. Several groups bring diesel generators so that the music can continue on the camping ground. If you can't sleep with so much noise around you, ear plugs may turn out to be the most important item on your list.